I've been reading a lot lately about goal setting, and how important it is to set goals. Not just for now, next week, next month, next year, but also for the bigger picture; where you want to be in 20 years' time.
I've never got around to actually writing down my goals though... by which I mean, I actively resisted doing it. I had the pen and paper in my hands several times, but always found a reason not to actually write anything down.
The other day, I was listening to a CD of the Damsels in Success Ignite conference, and decided to just get on and write down where I want to be in 20 years. I wrote my list: where I live, what my house is like, what S is like, what I'm doing for a living, blah blah. Each time I finished writing one point, it crossed my mind to mention a man in my life. Then I would just move on to another detail.
I felt a strong resistance against making any mention of a man in my long term plans. But here I am, single and considering joining a dating site in order to meet a man. I complain about being single all the time. I often wish I had a long-term partner in my life... so why did I have such a problem with imagining one in my long term goals?
When I was a teenager, I felt so horrendously ugly, both inside and out, that I honestly thought I would never find anyone who would want to be with me. I told everyone I didn't want to get married and have children because I thought if I convinced myself and everyone else of this, it wouldn't hurt so much when it never happened.
I convinced everyone that I didn't want or like children, that I was scared of them and didn't want them around. People were surprised when I fell pregnant because they had always believed my constant affirmation that I was fine on my own; and now here I was, suddenly step parent to six children and expecting my own. I don't think anyone expected me to be particularly good at being a mother because I'd always talked about how much I didn't want to be one and never wanted to get married. When I was pregnant I remember my mother telling me I was the least maternal person she'd ever met. And yet here I am, doing a pretty damn good job of being a mother to S, and loving it. Like I always secretly knew that I would.
Guess what: I always wanted to get married and have children; I just didn't believe I was, or would ever be good enough to have either. I believed I was so bad that nobody would ever want to have children with me. This belief was compounded when my relationship with S's father turned out to be a farce. See, the only person who wanted to have a baby with me was using me and didn't even want me or the baby so much as more people to control and manipulate. I wasn't even good enough for him. It's hard to come through something like that, and not see it that way: that you weren't even good enough for someone that low and disgusting and nasty.
It seems I've done a pretty a good job of convincing myself and everyone around me that I don't want a husband and children. Since having S I've been largely independent; mostly through necessity, often through choice and pig-headed determination I've managed to sabotage a fair few relationships in my life because the idea of being a long term relationship didn't fit in with my view of myself - even though that view was wrong. Because I am good enough. Just as I am, without having to wear more make up or lose a few pounds or dye my roots. When my daughter looks at me she doesn't see any of that; she doesn't see that my clothes don't fit well, or that I've not washed my hair today and my nail varnish is chipped. I really don't think it's outside the realms of possibility that I could find a man who feels the same.
In the end, after a lot of poking at myself to try and figure out what the problem was, I wrote down at the bottom of my list of goals that I want to be happily married, possibly with more children. It was probably the weirdest and hardest sentence I've ever written. But I did it. And now... now I wait for him to turn up! (and maybe join a dating website if I can pluck up the courage)